Volume One Hundred

The last time I played a 288-yard hole, I got a seven.

Hitting the LinksRain delays stink for television viewing and poor Rory didn’t have Tiger around to spout off about. Oh well, he gets a nice plaid jacket to add to his wardrobe for his troubles.

This week we have a recap of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, a top-ten list you do not want to be on, and a par three on which you need to hit driver.

Eagle Sticks Golf Club (Zanesville, OH) Review

Eagle Sticks is a renaissance course that rewards creativity and shotmaking over the popular bomb and gouge style of play. It’s a throw-back course, and a fun, well-designed one at that.

Eagle Sticks LogoDescribed on our forum as “Augusta Junior,” Eagle Sticks Golf Club has at least one thing in common with the famous Georgia course: the entrance is right off a street filled with strip malls, fast food, and small retail buildings. The course is also set among hilly terrain, like Augusta National, but the comparisons really stop there. Eagle Sticks was not designed by Alister MacKenzie. I doubt if any top-ranking pro aspires to play there. And, as hard as I looked, I couldn’t spot a single azalea anywhere on the course!

Fortunately for golfers, Eagle Sticks is a fun, well-designed, and relatively inexpensive track for golfers east of Columbus, OH. I had the chance to play Eagle Sticks in early May, and after hearing the “Augusta Junior” moniker, I couldn’t possibly help but be disappointed when reality didn’t quite meet expectations. Right? Wrong – Eagle Sticks impressed me enough that I’m trying to find a way to get back to the course, despite the four-hour drive, to play again.

Golf Talk [Episode 059]

Zach Johnson has gotta win eventually outside of the state of Georgia. He may have a good chance this summer… in Pittsburgh.

Golf Talk PodcastZach Johnson validates his win in Georgia by winning… in Georgia, home of all three of his PGA Tour wins. Also this week, Lorena Ochoa wins, Tiger has eye surgery, John Daly, and the Bottom 10 from the world of golf, and a whole lot more in this episode of Golf Talk.

You can subscribe to the RSS feed for our podcasts here or download Episode 059 as an MP4 file. For those who want to subscribe to us in iTunes, click here.

For this week’s Show Notes – links to articles we discuss in the show and additional information – just read on.

Cranberry Highlands (Cranberry, PA) Review

Cranberry Highlands is a very playable golf course that suffers a little bit from blandness. I prefer to think of it as more of a blank canvas for the kind of golf you’d like to play.

Cranberry Highlands SignAmerican golfers don’t often get to play a course without many trees, and when we do we often call the course “linksy.” Of course, nothing could be further from the truth, as true “links” land exists in only one place: right against a large body of water. Links land is a soft, fertile soil that literally “links” the inland sections to the body of water.

For treeless inland courses I prefer the term “early American.” Many of today’s parkland courses, characterized by chutes of trees leading from tee to green, began their lives as virtually treeless golf courses. Whether as a result of “Beautification Committees” or Mother Nature, treeless golf courses in 1930 became forested, heavily wooded courses by 2000. For example, Oakmont – home of this year’s U.S. Open – was once treeless and has had to remove some 8,000 trees to get back to its original look.

A short drive west of Oakmont, one will find an “early American” course in a town called “Cranberry.” Built on the top of a hill, Cranberry Highlands brings this style of architecture to a public, municipally owned course. I’ve had the chance to play Cranberry Highlands a few times, and I’ve come away with mixed feelings. Read on to see what I mean…

The Cost of Being a Fan

With the remaining three majors fast approaching, act now if you want to attend live, and get your pocket book ready.

The Numbers GameAnyone who calls themselves a real fan of the PGA Tour has watched the television coverage of a major and thought “How great would it be to attend!?” Fans of Tiger, Phil, and the rest of the boys on Tour would all love to follow the action live. Sure, your couch has some comforts, but how many times are you going to stride along with Tiger as he wins another U.S. Open?

The people attending these events by and large look like you and I. They’re normal guys who just happened to nab some great tickets. Scoring passes to prestigious sports events does not come cheap. Look around sometime and price out tickets to a World Series, or if you dare, The Super Bowl. Major events on the PGA Tour are not much easier on the pocket books. In fact, depending on the event, they can be considerably more expensive.

In this week’s The Numbers Game, we’ll have a look at the cost of being a fan.

New Sun Mountain Speed Cart V1 Rolls Out

There’s more than one way to walk the course. You can be caddied, you can carry, you can drag. But when push comes to shove, this may be your solution.

Bag DropMy memories of using a hand cart are not good ones. Invariably they were rentals at public courses weighing a good 15 pounds with wobbly little wheels and a propensity to tip over on anything but dead flat ground. Dragging one of those behind me up and down hills wasn’t any fun.

That’s why I always carried when I walked. It was simpler and definitely more fashionable. Somehow here in the U.S. using a hand cart just wasn’t the cool thing to do. But times change and so did I. I got older, my feet gave out (plantar faciitis), and I started riding instead of walking.

About the same time, while I wasn’t looking, a new breed of hand cart emerged. Sun Mountain introduced their first three-wheeled push cart in 1999. It was light, stable, and ergonomically designed. With the latest version introduced this month, they’ve raised the bar again on what a hand cart can be. Here’s the story…

Volume Ninety-Nine

Zach Johnson just petitioned the PGA Tour to hold all events in Georgia.

Hitting the LinksSure, the one weekend in which I didn’t watch any golf we have the Cinderella story that is Zach Johnson winning again, Lorena Ochoa continuing to dominate the LPGA Tour, Padraig winning on his home turf, and Seve making his debut on the Champions Tour. I need TiVo!

This week we have a recap of The AT&T Classic, an Irishman winning the Irish Open, and and some numbers to make your head spin.

Titleist 907D1 and 907D2 Driver Review

Titleist may be the “traditional” golf company, but that hasn’t stopped them from introducing a triangular driver. How’s it play? Read to find out.

Titleist 907 D1 D2 Drivers HeroSome have called 2007 the year of the square driver. After all, big names in the golf industry – Callaway and Nike – have pushed square drivers on the market with others (Nickent) following. And hey, the logic behind pushing weight to the back corners makes sense. These facts have led some to claim that within five years, all drivers will be squarish in shape.

But not so fast! Feedback from demo days is that the square drivers are shorter than the traditional drivers. And, since they’re engineered hit the ball straighter, the better players who likes to shape their tee balls aren’t taking to the shorter, straighter, squarer drivers at all.

With all the hype, it’s easy to overlook the more traditional drivers from companies like Titleist. This April, Titleist followed up on their 460cc 905R with the fairly traditional 907D2 and the triangular 907D1. Both designed for the better player – and neither at all resembling a box – the 907 line continues Titleist’s “two-driver” strategy.

How do these drivers stack up to the competition? Is a triangle better than a square? Which of the two is better for you? Read on to find out.

Why Tiger Will Remain Number One

The buzz says Phil Mickelson can take the top spot in the World Golf Rankings. Wishful thinking says Ernie Els can. Is it really an achievable goal?

Trap Five LogoThe minute Phil Mickelson or any other big-name player wins a tournament – any tournament – the media is abuzz with questions whether or not that player can overtake Tiger Woods in the World Golf Rankings.

While Phil has probably exceeded his short-range goals with swing-coach Butch Harmon, there remain many obstacles between Phil and the number-one ranking. Outside of Phil Mickelson there is nobody who seems to have the consistency to challenge Woods week in and week out. While there is a ton of potential on Tour, potential does not a winner make.

Here’s my best stab at why Tiger is a lock as the world number one for a long time to come…